What is German Politics? Revolution, Participation, and Public Discourse in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries


This snapshot does not aim to outline different political positions from the late eighteenth century onward. Rather, it looks at categories such as gender, the body, space, or work, categories with whose help politics and the right to public speech were negotiated from the 1790s to the mid-twentieth century. The Age of Revolutions profoundly influenced how Germans regarded revolution as a means for political change. Initial democratic flourishes in the 1790s occurred under French rule, and subsequent allegories of femininity differentiated between German and French spaces and politics. The tendency to frame political action as masculine persisted from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Therefore, ideas about masculinity and politics were mocked, first in caricatures about political mobilization and participation in the Revolutions of 1848 and 1918 and then in attempts to showcase democracy in the Federal Republic. In the Weimar Republic, which radically expanded opportunities for political participation (at least nominally), the category of work also served to designate non-revolutionary behavior as a German virtue.


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  2. The Rhine before and after 1800: From Common Border Region to Symbol of National Difference >